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Appeal, Amnesty International, 21 October 2005
PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 15/052/2005
21 October 2005
UA 278/05 Fear of deportation
ISRAEL/OCCUPIED TERRITORIES Walid Hanatche (m)
Walid Hanatche, a Palestinian who has been detained without charge or trial since May 2002, has been put under pressure by the Israeli authorities to accept deportation to an unspecified country or face the possibility of remaining in administrative detention indefinitely. Amnesty International is concerned that the Israeli authorities intend to use this as a test case, and that if they succeed in deporting Walid Hanatche they may deport more Palestinians.
Amnesty International is aware of another administrative detainee who is being pressured into agreeing to be deported as a condition for release, but this detainee’s name is not being made public.
Walid Hanatche, a postgraduate economics student at the West Bank University of Birzeit, married with a young child, was arrested as he left the Hadassa Hospital in Jerusalem, reportedly for being in Jerusalem without a permit. He and his lawyer have never been given any information as to why he is being detained.
At the end of September the Israeli military authorities told Walid Hanatche that his latest three-month administrative detention order, which was due to expire, would be renewed once again unless he agreed to leave the West Bank for at least two years. When he refused, his administrative detention order was renewed, for the 14th time, by the Israeli Military Commander.
Walid Hanatche’s wife has recently been diagnosed with brain cancer. After three and a half years detained without charge or trial, he is being pressured to accept deportation as the only way to end what could otherwise be indefinite detention and to rejoin his family, who would also need to leave their home and go abroad in order to be with him.
Amnesty International believes that the attempted deportation of Walid Hanatche violates Israel’s obligation under the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel has been a state party since 1951. Article 49 of the Convention stipulates that: “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territories to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.” Article 147 of the same Convention defines “unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person” as a grave breach of the Convention and therefore a war crime.
The prohibition of deportation of protected persons from occupied territory was affirmed in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which reflects customary international law. The statute defines war crimes as including the grave breach of “unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person.”
In June 2005, after his administrative detention order had been renewed 12 times, the Military Court declined to confirm a further renewal of the administrative detention order issued by the Military Commander. However, Walid Hanatche remained detained pending the Supreme Court’s ruling on the appeal of the Military Commander against the Military Court’s decision. In its ruling in August 2005 the Supreme Court approved the renewal of the administrative detention order but reduced it to a three-month period, which expired at the end of September 2005.
Under Israeli military law, Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories can be held under administrative detention without charge or trial, and without any prospect of being brought to trial, indefinitely. Neither the detainees nor their lawyers are allowed to see any of the information which the Israeli army and intelligence service claim justifies the detention. Administrative detainees are therefore unable to challenge their detention. In the overwhelming majority of cases Israeli Military tribunals approve the administrative detention orders issued against Palestinians by military commanders, effectively acting as a rubber-stamp mechanism. In recent years, thousands of Palestinians have been detained administratively for periods ranging from a few months to several years. In the past three weeks alone, more than 200 Palestinians in the West Bank have been placed under administrative detention orders.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English, Hebrew or your own language:
– calling on the Israeli authorities to release Walid Hanatche immediately unless he is to be promptly charged with a recognizably criminal offence and brought to trial in full compliance with international standards for fair trial;
– calling on the Israeli authorities to immediately withdraw the condition that Walid Hanatche or any other detainees agree to be deported in order to be released from administrative detention;
– reiterating the call for an end to the practice of administrative detention and the call for the release of all administrative detainees, unless they are charged with a recognizable criminal offence and promptly brought to trial in full compliance with international standards for fair trial.
Mrs Tzipi Livni
Minister of Justice
Minstry of Justice
29 Salah al-Din Street
Fax: + 972 2 628 7757
Salutation: Dear Minister
Ministry of Justice
29 Salah al-Din Street
Fax: + 972 2 627 4481
+ 972 2 628 5438
+ 972 2 530 3367
Salutation: Dear Attorney General
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Israel accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 2 December
Please also see the Birzeit University appeal for Walid: Demand the Release of Birzeit University Student Walid Hanatche